Eli's Corner

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a summer in brief

So last time I posted was after that miserable failure of an IVF in April.  Around that time I hit a point where it was no longer helpful to talk about my shrinking window, my crusty ovaries, or my dwindling hopes.  Voicing all this did nothing but give center stage to all the anxiety crowding around the edges of my mind.  I stopped blogging. We told our families that IVF didn’t work. (Those who asked. Mostly my family sucks and pretends I don’t exist, so we just let them figure it out.) But we didn’t tell any of them that it would probably never work, that my body just didn’t respond to the drugs anymore.  I just stopped talking about my reproductive system, except when I cried and grieved to my therapist about it, and in those periodic what the heck do we do now conversations with B. In general, it was too heavy to give words to.

Without any further plan, we took a break. We had family visits over the summer. We grew our little business. We got all obsessed with food allergies and got expensive tests done. We talked about adopting. We found out B is supposedly allergic to All Foods Known To Man. We started identifying friends and friends of friends who had adopted so we could get together and ask them about their experiences. We didn’t follow through.

We talked about doing that absurd aggressive IVF which had such slim chances of working. We saw naturopaths about the damn allergies.  Mine told me I needed to detox from all those years of fertility drugs.  I figured, what the hell, and I forced us both on a 3-week detox / elimination diet to kill the dual birds of allergies and toxins with the one Mediclear stone.  No coffee, sugar, alcohol, eggs, dairy, meat, gluten, tomatoes, almonds, soy, etc. etc. etc. made for a super boring summer, but I had minimal expectations for the summer anyway. We reintroduced the allergens one at a time. B decided that each of his reactions was attributable to something else – like how hot it was that day, making this whole exercise essentially pointless as far as he was concerned.

We visited our friends at their cabin on the Sunshine Coast. We drank. I learned to wakeboard. (This is major.) That weekend I finally dumped it all out on my friend that we were pretty much never going to have children. She didn’t say anything particularly horrible.  We jumped off the pier. (Also major.)

We came home, closed our eyes, and dialed up the fertility clinic. In the absence of being able to wrap our heads around anything else, we decided to do one more try with IVF.  We told no one. I think I kind of just wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening until it was over. I didn’t know how I was going to get through it this time, frankly, but I didn’t see any other way to move forward except to get this over with and out of my system. I had my orientation, started my inositol/coQ10/vitamin cocktail and waited for CD1 to call and schedule everything. Went to a double baby shower for two friends that are both on their 2nd since I started trying. Survived by subversively conspiring with H2 to wear matching black tees she got us as gifts when one of those friends announced. (We’ve started buying each other presents when other people get pregnant.)

The next week I suddenly became super chatty about my ovaries.  Had a picnic at the beach with a couple of girlfriends, threw back some gin and tonics and told them all about how I was doing to do one more shitty IVF before giving up completely. Next day another picnic at the beach with a friend who has endo (she comes from a family of endo sufferers, and her sister had just had her second failed IVF cycle that week).  We grieved together about never having babies that will look like us.

B and I took our staff out for drinks that Friday night and felt excited that our little crew was finally starting to feel like a team.  Got home and realized it was too late to call the clinic before the weekend to kick off IVF scheduling.  Also realized CD1 should have been yesterday.

And this brings us almost to the end of summer.  Hold up, I’ve got to pee.






Waiting for bloodwork to confirm what I already know after 3 at-home BFNs. Waiting for my period (5 days late, courtesy of progesterone). Waiting, because for the first time in three years, I have no further plan. Waiting to see how this is going to be ok, because I know it will, but if I try to think of how, my heart fails me.


i’d like to give up infertility for lent this year

As you may have seen from my previous update, they were only able to get three eggs from my ovaries, but miraculously, two of those three fertilized.  

We got the call yesterday, and the timing in terms of where we were and what we were doing was incredibly sweet, but I kind of want to hold that close for now.  Kind of holding all of this close.

They rushed us in for a day 2 transfer this morning, and we saw our embies on a screen just before they were transferred.  One is 3 cells and the other is 4 – graded B and C respectively (the scale runs best-worst from A-D).

They wished us luck, advised me not to test early and to stay off the internet (ha!), and they tried to instill in us what they considered to be an appropriate level of hope – general positivity without too much expectation.

As it turns out, however, I’m already in love with these little cells, all seven of them.  I’m aware of the odds and all of that, but there is simply no mitigating how badly I want them to grow and thrive.  I’m blown away that each little embryo has the all the DNA of a unique person – a person made from me and my husband.  So I’m going to celebrate them as long as they’re around – whether it’s days, months, or for the rest of my life.  And I’m going to make myself a paper chain.





I have 6 eggs.  First of all, I realize I’m lucky to have 6 eggs.  That said, in my orientation, my doctor told me to expect 10, but that was before she looked at my AMH results, which she quickly dismissed.  So, much as I’ve been obsessing about my AMH level, part of me was still clinging to my doctor’s dismissal of it, and I was really hoping to have in the ballpark of 10 eggs.  It was another doctor who did my ultrasound this morning, and he said that, given my AMH, 6 eggs makes sense.  I think this all just feels a little more final now.  The AMH is not a fluke.  They didn’t mix up the results.  My mom’s last period at 36 does have bearing on my life.  And it makes me feel like, no, I probably won’t be doing this again.  My time is limited.  All that stuff.

We really struggled with the whole idea of IVF.  I feel like IVF is a very personal journey, and everybody’s got a different process.  Our process involved not wanting to leave a frozen embryo in limbo.  I felt like I was ok freezing an embryo and knowing that I’d get to it later.  DH told me I could get hit by a bus.  I told him if I got hit by a bus, I felt like I was off the hook.  Ultimately, we had to arrive at a decision that we were both comfortable with, and that was to only “mix” as many eggs as we were willing to have implanted, and then freeze the rest.

So we won’t be freezing embryos, but eggs.  I know I could have an egg on ice and not stress about it, but if it were an embryo, I know I’d feel responsible for it until it was implanted.  That seemed like a nice, easy decision when we had 10 imaginary eggs to deal with, but now that it’s fewer, and I know that the thaw survival rate is something like 75% for an egg, I feel like I just want to mix them all and not take any chances that none fertilize in the first round and we have to run the risk of losing a precious egg in the thaw process.  But I’ve got to remember that the survival rate for a frozen embryo is only 50%.  And I’ve got to just stick with what we decided.  We decided it for a reason.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that I’m tired.  I have?  Oh.  Well, yes, I’m tired.  At this point I just have to trust that whatever happens, all will be well.  But I’m still crying just a little.



With all the money I’ve spent on therapy, you’d think I’d have a handle on this.  I don’t.  Today I am a relationally inept, sobbing moron.

My shrink’s general take is that my mother was a narcissist, meaning that my needs were never important, so now I have this deep cry to have people see my needs coupled with a crippling inability to make my needs known.  I’m not sure what I think about that first part (I’ve always thought she was more inept than narcissistic…but in this book I’m reading, I’m pretty much the poster child for a narcissist’s progeny.  So there’s that.)  At any rate, whatever the reason, I’ve successfully ensured that I have zero support from pretty much everyone in my life except my husband and my shrink.

Ok…not true.  What I don’t have is the support that I want from the people that I want it from.  That’s more accurate.  And today it’s coming to a head.  For starters, I stayed home from church to avoid being asked why I’m not going to a baby shower for my friend’s “oops” baby.  Background: I MC’d her wedding in August, then she called me afterwards to say she was preggers and keep it on the DL…she literally said, “It was one of those ‘first time’s the charm’ things.”  (No, it wasn’t.  You don’t have to say that. Quite frankly I don’t give a shit whether or not you were having sex before you got married, but fuck you so very much for getting pregnant on accident when you didn’t want to.)  That was my internal monologue.  Externally, I said a lot of nice and supportive things and then hung up the phone and wept for an hour.

I contemplated attending her shower, but my DH talked some sense into me and told me I absolutely did not have to do that.  So I didn’t.  But the shower was immediately after church with a bunch of church ladies, so I skipped church.  This is why I’m sitting at home.

Aaaaaand I get a bunch of emails from my sister.  The anniversary of my Dad’s death was a few days ago, and today she sent me all these sobby emails about how her kids will never know their grandfather.  Granted, that sucks.  But guess what?  She gets the chance to know her kids, so that’s nice.  Also, she knows I’m doing IVF and hasn’t reached out to me about it once.  Not once.  Not a word since I told her about it at Christmas.  She’s my fucking sister.  She sucks.  I’m not sure why she doesn’t make any attempts on this front, but she doesn’t.

Oh, then there’s my potentially-but-we’re-not-sure-yet narcissist mother.  She doesn’t know that I’m on the brink of menopause or that I’m doing IVF.  I had planned on telling her when I was down at Christmas, but there was not a moment of genuine communication between us, and I thought, why?  She is a source of precisely zero support – we’ve spoken about my miscarriage on exactly one occasion…months after the fact…and she offered (by way of comfort, I assume) that she thought she might have had a miscarriage once but she wasn’t sure.  So I figured I’d save the energy of bringing her into the loop on this simply because she gave birth to me.  There’s really no other reason I’d want her to be involved.

Finally, (only nowhere close to finally – I haven’t even started on my in-laws or other friends – but finally for what I’m saying here) my SIL, typically very self-involved, has actually been showing some interest and expressing concern about this, so, feeling a need to connect with someone, I reached out to her today and let her know where I was at in the process and that we’d probably know the # of eggs late next week.  There was some promising back and forth about what the process is actually like, and a little sympathy, which was nice.  Then – POW!  “Then they grow up to be snotty teenagers.  Parenting’s really hard for us right now.  You can be praying about that.”  It was the last straw for me.  I’m sick of taking it up the ass and pretending that people’s myopic comments don’t bug me.  I’m sick of the high road.  It’s painful and lonely.  So I struck back: “Well, you have living children, so that’s a bonus.”  Stupid, but whatever.  She, alarmed that the conversation was turning away from her, wrote back about what their emergency actually was…and she begged me not to tell anyone so I won’t. But seriously. I’m sure it seems big to them, but it’s basically a teenage rite of passage and they need to calm the hell down.  I haven’t written back, because I can only think of dismissive things to say.

I think with this post I’ve officially crossed the line and will now never be able to make this blog public.

I’m angry and sad and lonely and hopped up on a lot of drugs right now.  I’m terrified that it won’t work and terrified that it will.  Work is stressful, life is hectic, and I am barely holding on.  I wish people could understand that without me having to say all of that point blank and begging them to pretend that my shit matters for 10 minutes.  I probably need to work on being vulnerable – but I’m afraid I might actually be surrounded by particularly shitty people.  Of course, children of narcissists tend to think that they’re surrounded by particularly shitty people.  So I probably need to work on being vulnerable.  Some other day.  If I try today, I’m just going to piss everybody off.


My SIL apologized for being insensitive.  Unexpected.  Impressive.  I also apologized for being insensitive, we are now both back to trying to be supportive, and I shall remove her from the List of People I Shall Never Trust Again.  (Can you see what it’s like to live in my head?  Exhausting.)

My mom still totally sucks, though.

Look at that.  I’ve made it through another day.